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Monday, May 27, 2024

Video threatens Crown Prince, Stoltenberg with ‘painful revenge’

A video published on the social media site Facebook threatens Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre with both “painful revenge” and death, in retaliation for Norway’s military involvement in Afghanistan. The video promotes a demonstration organized by an Islamic group and planned for Friday in front of the Norwegian Parliament.

Crown Prince Haakon has visited Norwegian troops in Afghanistan, like here in 2009. PHOTO: Forsvaret

The video, accompanied by music, shows photos of wounded Afghan children and armed Norwegian soldiers along with a photo of Stoltenberg at a NATO conference in Strasbourg. Under his photo is text, in Norwegian, that reads “Å Allah ødelegg dem” (Oh Allah, destroy them).

The next photo on the video, which was also published in an edited version by Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on its website Tuesday afternoon, shows Crown Prince Haakon in a military uniform, visiting Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan. The text under his photo reads the same, but adds “la det være smertefullt” (let it be painful). The Royal Palace had no comment. One photo of Støre is accompanied by text that reads, roughly translated, “show them hell.”

Many of the photos used in the video appear to come from the photo archives of the defense ministry, which are open to the press and public. Among them is a photo of Stoltenberg climbing out of a tank in Afghanistan, and others of military maneuvers around areas where Norwegian troops have been stationed.

The video also shows photos of the coffins of Norwegian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, with text claiming that victory will come “from Allah.” The video celebrates the deaths of the Norwegian soldiers and ends with the explosion of a white vehicle and a Norwegian flag in flames.

See an edited version of the video on NRK’s site here (external link, in Norwegian).

Norway’s police intelligence unit PST announced that it is investigating the video, which is believed to be the first such direct threats against Norwegian leaders. “I can’t remember seeing this before in Norway,” Anders Romarheim of the Institute for Defense Studies told NRK.

The video threat comes ironically as Norway is starting to pull out of Afghanistan, after nearly 10 years. PST views it as inciting terrorism, and therefore illegal.

Just before the video ends, it encourages Muslims to turn up for the demonstration planned for Friday in front of the Parliament. The demonstration has been organized by a small, radical Islamic group that received permission to gather outside the Parliament from both the Parliament’s administration and the police. None of the group’s members has been willing to be identified in the media.

Snorre Haugen of the Oslo police told NRK that it’s difficult to hold arrangers of demonstrations responsible for everything expressed on a Facebook page. It’s also difficult to halt a demonstration, he said. “Freedom of expression is very strong in Norway,” Haugen told NRK.

News of the video broke just as PST was issuing its new terrorism evaluation for Norway, in which it said that Islamic extremists represented the biggest and most dangerous threat to Norway. The evaluation also expressed concern that other extremists may try to copy confessed Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, with new attacks against Norway. PST did not, however, raise the overall threat level of terrorism from right-wing extremists or anti-Islamic groups.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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